Thursday, May 3, 2007

Microsoft's Boasting of Silverlight

Silverlight will go head-to-head with Adobe's Flash, the current dominant platform for online multimedia content. Microsoft has long insisted that Silverlight will do things its rivals can't. Those claims got a major boost from Silverlight's dramatic demos at Mix07. Netflix plans to adopt Silverlight as the foundation for its instant-viewing feature; a demo showed off high-quality streaming video overlaid with DVD-like menus and controls. A preview of forthcoming on-demand video functionality from had attendees clamoring for the developing new features to hurry up and get finished.

Silverlight's content presentation was impressive, but development partners said its programming model is even more impressive. Avenue A/Razorfish began working on the Netflix demo it showed off today just three weeks ago, Brown said.

"We've found it to be an incredibly powerful platform to create immersive experiences," he said. "We now have unprecedented collaboration between our designers and developers."

Solutions provider Metaliq showed off a Silverlight-based in-browser video editing application, Top Banana. Building the application was quick and painless, according to Metaliq CEO Beau Ambur. What's even more painless is its download speed: the application itself is just 50kb, Ambur said.

Of course, Microsoft's willingness to play nicely with rival platforms has its limits. Silverlight applications will run on Macs, but the tools for building them won't. Expression Studio, which shipped today, will remain Windows-only software, according to Wayne Smith, the group product manager in charge of the suite.